One of the best changes you can make to your diet to improve your health, is to limit the amounts of refined carbohydrates (processed carbohydrates that have had many of their nutrients and fiber removed).  A good way to do this is to stick with whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and meats, which have not been processed in any way.

Our bodies are best suited to digest foods as they are found in nature, not processed foods that have been invented in a lab.  These processed foods (for example: cheese puffs, toaster pastries, and snack bars) contain lots of refined carbohydrates, including sugar.  Consuming these foods signals your body to secrete high levels of insulin.  The insulin released into your bloodstream in response to consuming carbohydrates, is responsible for removing sugar from your bloodstream and storing it as fat.  So eating lots of refined carbs increases your insulin, and therefore increases your fat storage.  Processed foods labeled as “low-fat” are even worse, because the fat that is taken out is replaced with sugar to maintain its taste.

And don’t forget, in addition to soda, fruit juices and sports drinks have high sugar contents and are not necessarily healthy alternatives to soda.  If water isn’t your favorite beverage, try adding a lemon, lime, or orange wedge to it for a hint of flavor.

The Harvard School of Public Health has created the Healthy Eating Plate to help with making the best nutrition choices for healthy balanced meals.


If you want to learn more details about how sugar causes obesity, watch this video The Skinny on Obesity by Dr. Robert Lustig, M.D. You can also check out the additional resources and links on the site after watching the video.

If you are interested in a more in depth talk about sugar and obesity, watch Dr. Lustig’s medical school lecture that started it all, called Sugar: The Bitter Truth.


An excellent way to increase the amount of whole, fresh foods in your diet is by shopping at your local farmers market. These are great places to find foods such as fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, and eggs.  In addition, farmers markets allow you to:

  • Get to know your local farmers and learn how your food is grown.
  • Support your local economy and strengthen the community.
  • Learn which fruits and veggies are in season in your area.
  • Reduce energy use related to transporting food long distances.

And most importantly….Think about how much fresher and tastier a piece of local produce just picked from the farm tastes, compared to produce that spent days to weeks being shipped hundreds of miles and sitting on the supermarket shelf.

Some farms also participate in CSA’s (Community Supported Agriculture).  In general a CSA entails paying an upfront fee to the farm, at the beginning of the season, for a share of the farm’s produce.  Shares are typically dropped off at a pre-arranged site, weekly or biweekly, for you to pick up.

Click here for a list of farmers markets and CSA’s in the Shepherdstown area.

Live somewhere else? Find a farmers market near you by downloading the Farmstand app on your iPhone or running it on your other mobile device .

Find a CSA near you on the Local Harvest website.

Eatwild is also a great site to find farms in your local area that will sell meats, eggs, and dairy directly to the consumer.